An obvious pair…films and food. I always watch a movie at the theatre with popcorn in hand. It just feels right. But I do think that hot dogs and pizza and hamburgers is going a little over board though, when you’re at the movie theatre. But at home, well, feel free to devour whatever you please.
FilmsWeLike sent me a copy of their latest Mid-August Lunch (a film by Gianni Di Gregorio) to review. It’s a lovely little film about food, friends, family, and love. The food… Italian. The friends… elderly women. The family…a middle aged man and his mama. And the love… is what happens when you combine all three. So naturally, I decided I had to watch this move over an inspired homemade hearty meal of my own. Vegan lasagna! I’m sure Italians would kill me for putting vegan and lasagna in the same sentence. So be it.
Mid-August Lunch and my Vegan Lasagna made the perfect Sunday afternoon. However, I only wish I had a bottle of wine to go with them. After watching the star of the film, Gianni, casually down glass of wine after glass of wine – making alcoholism look so luxurious and appealing – I too had the urge to get wasted in the hot afternoon sun. But alas, no wine and no hot sun over here!
I love film, but I’m no critic. But what I enjoyed most about Mid-August Lunch was watching the characters really take pleasure in food and wine throughout the movie. I related even more when one of the characters in the movie couldn’t eat cheese! Well too bad she didn’t have my recipe for this Vegan Lasagna.
(of course, the veggies and noodles can be changed to your liking)
brown rice lasagna
zucchini, shredded carrot, chopped spinach
For Tomato Sauce:
1 can whole tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
fresh basil & parsley
fresh or dried oregano
salt & pepper
Saute onion in some olive oil until soft. Add garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. Add tomato paste and herbs, then the whole tomatoes (with juice from can). I blended the whole tomatoes first, but that’s optional. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
For Bechamel (White Sauce):
1/2 cup silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. tahini
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp corn starch
Put all these ingredients in a blender and combine.
For Tofu Ricotta:
1 block extra firm tofu, crumbled
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
salt & pepper
Crumble the tofu into small pieces (resembling ricotta cheese) with your hands. Add in the remaining ingredients and combine.
It takes some prep time to get all 3 of these components ready so you could make both sauces and the tofu ricotta ahead of time. Saute zucchini, shredded carrot and spinach if you’re using fresh spinach in a pan with a bit of olive oil. You can use frozen spinach, just make sure you thaw and drain out the water first. You’ll need to pre-boil the brown rice lasagna according to the package or you can save time by using ready to bake white lasagna. Assemble your lasagna in a greased baking dish. Lasagna can be assembled however you want really, but here’s what I did. Pour some tomato sauce to coat the bottom of the dish first, then layer noodles, tofu ricotta, spinach, some white sauce, some more tomato sauce. Then noodles, tofu ricotta, a layer of the zucchini and carrots, remaining white sauce, some more tomato sauce, noodles, and then remaining tomato sauce. I topped it with my pre-made vegan parmesan which is always in the fridge (ground raw cashews, nutritional yeast, celtic sea salt). Bake at 400 F covered with foil for 40 minutes. Then a few minutes under the broiler to brown the top.
Thanks to Troy at FWL (www.filmswelike.com) for sending over the film and inspiring a hot for food recipe!